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Publisher's Summary

Hidden in the shadow cast by the great western expeditions of Lewis and Clark lies another journey every bit as poignant, every bit as dramatic, and every bit as essential to an understanding of who we are as a nation - the 1,800-mile journey made by Chief Joseph and 800 Nez Perce men, women, and children from their homelands in what is now eastern Oregon to Montana. There, only 40 miles from the Canadian border and freedom, Chief Joseph, convinced that the wounded and elders could go no farther, walked across the snowy battlefield, handed his rifle to the US military commander who had been pursuing them, and spoke his now-famous words, "From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever." 

Drawing on four years of research, interviews, and 20,000 miles of travel, Nerburn takes us beyond the surrender to the captives' unlikely welcome in Bismarck, North Dakota, their tragic eight-year exile in Indian Territory, and their ultimate return to the Northwest. Nerburn reveals the true, complex character of Joseph, showing how the man was transformed into a myth by a public hungry for an image of the noble Indian and how Joseph exploited the myth in order to achieve his single goal of returning his people to their homeland.

©2005 Kent Nerburn (P)2018 Tantor

What listeners say about Chief Joseph & the Flight of the Nez Perce

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  • Overall
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Long but totally worth it

At the beginning of the book, I thought I perhaps had an incorrect view of the accomplishments of Chief Joseph. By the time I finished the book, I had so much admiration for him and his determination to remain a free people. It made me think about my own tribe and wonder if we gave up too early In 1855 or if we were we much better off than the Nez Perce for doing so.

I recommend this book for anyone interested in learning about Native American history.

4 people found this helpful

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A very informative novel.

A very informative novel. Increadible reading/listening. I saw elements on BOTH sides of the conflict in a new light. That was refreshing and I believe was due to the amazing level of research and effort that it is obvious went into this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Tragedy of Humanity

I originally tried to download the Chief Josephs' 'I will Fight No More Forever,' but ended up with this book. it is a very long and thorough account of the Nez Perce Indians and their struggles with the white man. Living amongst the Nez Perce, I don't think I ever truly understood what struggles their ancestors had to face to be recognized as a peaceful Indian tribe. The horrible injustice that was placed on them, being categorized as scalping warriors, when it fact it was other tribe's, plagued them for over 10 years as they were hunted, then dragged all over the United States. This book opened my eyes and heart to the wrongful labels put on my neighbors. I live on the Nez Perce Indian reservation. I appreciate these people and the struggles they have encountered.

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Amazing account of Chief Joseph

One of the best books on Native history I have read. How I wish I would have learned this in school. The narrator is great and I was sad when the book ended

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He Died of a Broken Heart. My heart weeps.

This is a narrative of a life. The details and context make it very relatable to a modern American citizen. The story must be better known for it tells us a lot about our history and culture. Having good feelings and even sympathy and respect is not enough to right the wrongs of our history. But this book is an essential building block of the knowledge needed to really understand the history and debt we owe native peoples.

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An attempt to do justice to a tragic injustice

Nerburn tells the story as objectively as possible, taking care to disclose his own distance from the people he describes. He uses a careful POV technique that helps the reader (or listener) better understand the context in which all participants are making decisions at the time they made them.

The story in total is tragic and sickening, and the echos of the period are still all around us. At least this book helps us understand them better. Maybe that brings us closer to correcting the wrongs, or maybe that's simply not possible.

The narration by Hillgartner is studied and compelling. It's probably the best-narrated book I've ever listened to.

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Engrossing and heartbreaking.

The tragic life of Joseph and his people were a product of both the unenlightened era in US history and the inherent arrogance of a budding country. This story needs to be shared.

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Well Written and Researched

A truly fascinating story about a very proud people. Tough subject matter that looks pourly upon the US Govt such as this, can be difficult to learn about. The other did a great job of presenting the facts and information without clouding it up in "Right or Wrong".
A great book, a must.

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Engaging, but a little over the top

A good book, but quite biased and some of the more over the top moments had me scratching my head. I was also disappointed about the choice to gloss over anything that didn't strictly advance his agenda.